Friday, December 11, 2009

paper waster

I've mentioned a few times before that Landon and I are trying to be a paper-less family. I did succumb to purchasing paper towels a few weeks ago when landon offered to trade in his toilet paper usage for just a roll of paper towels. But that was tough on me. And hopefully this roll will last us the next 3 months.

I alluded to the fact that one of my great pet-peeves is when there aren't electrical hand dryers in the bathrooms. Drives me nuts, even, when i'm sitting in the stall and I hear the automatic paper-dispenser chugging along for a wasteful person that wants three towels for their two hands. at least they're washing their hands...i guess.

when we were traveling through thailand, there was a woman at the door to the womens' restroom that you paid for 3 squares of toilet paper... most opted to drip-dry i think. (i snuck in my own toilet paper!)

The Sierra Club is doing a initiative for Christmas, trying to get people to be creative about their gift wrapping - foregoing the traditional paper wrapping. Can you think of some creative wrapping alternatives?

Landon refuses to get the local news paper when we can just read the news online. I have a hard time imagining that the traditional and powerful newspaper will some day move into oblivion because of the internet. But maybe it's a good thing, really...

Maybe a tiny  (and totally attainable) new years resolution for this year would be to waste less.
Here's some easy things to do:
1. buy a few cloth table napkins. do not buy any paper napkins in 2010. see how you like it.
2. buy cloth grocery bags (they're $1 a piece and I usually just need 3 or 4 per trip) and forgo the paper and plastic bags at the stores. seriously, if this is too difficult, then you're just plain lazy.
3. reuse, reuse, reuse: wash and dry your ziplocks, wrap sandwiches in cloth napkins instead, reuse the paper and plastic bags that you get with your chick fil a, bread loaves, cheese, chinese, etc....
4. abandon bottled water. if you really can't handle the tap, buy a filter and a nalgene. seriously.
5. invest in a pile of rags and use those instead of paper towels to clean your house. you can do ALL the glass surfaces with one towel, ALL the wood surfaces with another, you end up using 3 or 4 towels in the whole house and save TONS of paper towels.

I noticed that almost all of these say "buy" which could turn you off. I just did some calculating in my mind and realized that for all the things i mentioned buying (besides the water filter), this entire purchase would be around $15-$20. Which all of these things are REUSABLE, so you will spend a TOTAL of $20 for the entire year instead of continually stocking up on paper products. So don't let that deter you, friend. (and if you're being even more resourceful, you could make rags and napkins out of old clothes that are too tattered and not spend a penny).

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned each of these on my blog before, but I haven't actually challenged anyone to do this. And granted, when you have kids, you probably are cleaning up many more messes (my goodness, i can only imagine!), but maybe for that reason it will be even more worth it!

People have commented to me that washing these cloth napkins and rags wastes power and water! it's a catch-20-20. but it's actually not. It's not even one whole load to wash those each month. He have a HE washing machine, but still - i'm sure yours won't do much damage.

Please comment if you have anything else to add about how to waste less. Maybe you want to challenge me to do something I've forgotten when it comes to conservation.

And read my friends blog today about water conservation and environmental stewardship. It hits the nail on the head.


Brandon and Callie said...

I love this post Hannah! I think I've been taking a few steps toward this, but have been dragging my feet. Thanks for the little push :) Maybe I'll get out my sewing machine this weekend and bust out some napkins!
You could wrap presents in brown paper bags (forgo the reusable bags one trip) and then tie them up in red string? very old-timey

Anonymous said...

I have a few more suggestions and you can ask Anna about them.
I purchased Christmas boxes from Michael's last year @ 75% off and every present will be in one of those boxes. I have one christmas box that has been around the family I know for 6 years. We just add another stick on tag. I recycle all of my beautiful ribbon after the presents have been opened. Sometimes the ribbon goes on the Christmas tree or on a garland.
I use your suggestion about the rags. My old towels get in the laundry room for all sorts of things. Sometimes a guest will get one of those towels instead of the good ones, but oh well.
I love the reusable bags and have collected some really colorful ones. It is fun to see other people with theirs. I detest those plastic bags.

Love your blog,
Deborah (anna's mom)

Hannah said...


thanks for the comment! I love the idea of using reusable boxes for Christmas presents instead of paper. great suggestion!

And Callie,

Super cute idea about the red string on the paper bags. I have paper bags from shopping at places like Eddie Bauer or the Wine store, so I could use those!

Although i usually take them back with me to the store. They're always surprised when i say, "hey, can you use this bag?" they say, "wow, it even has our name on it!" I feel bad if i put someone's product in a different bag - the idea is to advertise while you're walking around the mall, right? anyways... that's dumb...

Brooke Hereth said...


janelle said...

Dad still uses his handkerchief instead of tissues. I still think its a little gross - but it's a real saver of tissues!

Hannah said...

nell, he also uses his holey underwear as garage rags. He's truly an inspiration!

Anna said...

Ha ha ha ha ha. Does your Dad read this blog?!?!

Hannah said...

ha! anna, yes, i think he does.